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Ministerial Visits (Accommodation)

Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on how many occasions (a) civil servants and (b) special advisers in his Department have stayed overnight in (i) five-star, (ii) four-star and (iii) three-star hotels in each of the last three years; (69111)

(2) what the total cost was of overnight accommodation for (a) civil servants and (b) special advisers in his Department staying overnight in (i) mainland Great Britain, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) the Republic of Ireland and (iv) other countries in each of the last three years;

(3) what discounts are available in relation to hotel accommodation used by (a) civil servants and (b) special advisers in his Department.

The Ministry of Defence has an Enabling Arrangement with Expotel Hotel Reservations Ltd. for booking hotel accommodation which staff can access through the Central Hotel Booking Service (CHBS). The MOD does not directly receive discounts for hotel accommodation but CHBS is required to secure the lowest possible rates available for accommodation, generally of three-star quality, throughout Great Britain and overseas. Northern Ireland is not included in this agreement.

This enabling arrangement is not mandated and individuals can choose to make their own bookings, providing they do so within a financial limit of £53 per night. There is no central record of bookings arranged outside CHBS and an attempt to collect such information could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.

CHBS does not record information on the star rating of the hotel, the choice of hotel being determined by value for money. Nor does CHBS hold information differentiating between civil servants and special advisers.